The Virgo Myth- The Myth Of Daphne
The myth of Daphne – Strength, discretion and integrity
The Daphne myth is little known, however it is still extremely interesting in its symbolism that contains some fundamental passages for the sign of Virgo.
Daphne is the most beautiful girl, whose name means “laurel”, the plant with trees, the great mythical and symbolic meaning used in the Greek world and also in the Roman world (the heroes were crowned with laurels, which indicated that they had covered not only the reign of erth, but also hell).
Daphne is the incarnation of purity and simplicity, characteristics that not easy to find in adult people also because, in this specific case, they relate to an integral soul that has very high ideals and that does not want to give in to compromises that are considered a contamination of standards.
With Apollo falling in love with her, the myth says “just one look ” sufficed to demonstrate that she had something so strong and beautiful that it was shining through even with just a glance (in Greece beauty was a synonym of harmony and of integrity of the soul more than of external forms). The God of the Sun wanted her at all costs and becomes more and more insistent to the point that to escape, she begs her father to transform her into a plant, in this way of escaping his longing.
Her father accepts her request and transforms her into a laurel plant.
Obviously, the God repented strongly having forced her hand so much and, in Daphne’s honour, chose the laurel as the plant to be used in his cult.
Undoubtedly Daphne has something that cannot be “touched”; she is certainly “a Virgo” in the sense that she wants to maintain personal integrity and, therefore, she is not ready to be allowed to love, as if she perceives that to enter inside this sentiment was making her lose something deep and “enchanted”.
The sign of Virgo has something “intact” that shines through at certain idiosyncrasies that betrays the fear of some contamination. it is not by chance that the idea of Virginity as the possibility of “maintaining oneself” has been always associated with this sign.
In Virgo it misses the archetypal ability to reach that maturity that would lead it to encountering others that, as we know, is an essential condition for true psychological unity. Still, we know that being left to others, psychologically speaking, indicates an internal strength that allows them to be “violated”. It means going beyond one’s own borders and to face the descent into a world that is unknown, and that therefore, is seen as “a hell” or as “diabolic”, into the most profound sense of etymology that indicates “separation and division”. Virgo must firstly create an internal bridge for itself towards the dimension that feels “divided”, otherwise it is afraid of being fragmented too much and of losing integrity.
Daphne wants to maintain her “virginity” and therefore she cannot approach love since she does not feel ready for it.
it is not by chance that in all the cultures of the past, virginity has always exerted a strong fascination over mankind who was seeing the purity of a woman in it, non-having been yet violated and then to have kept the whole charm of childhood intact inside of which everyone is innocent and pure.
More suspicious is instead virginity in our culture that needs to push, to exceeding taboos and, especially to consume everything very quickly, therefore it is reduced to a pure and simple physical and sexual condition, losing instead its more profound sense that, obviously, is spiritual.
The fact that Daphne is transformed into a plant can, from a psychological point of view, indicate two different necessities: one is not wanting to meet the other or the other is “getting ready to meet the other”.
Daphne is certainly afraid of love and in fact she does not see it with the anxiety of girls of her age, but, on the contrary, tries to get away not “let it happen”. In this trait Aldo Carotenuto sees Daphne as having a need to “escape” from the outside world and a desire of the psyche to maintain a profound contact with a part of what one cannot and does not want to be allowed, the typical condition of the Virgin Goddesses of antiquity who, even though they had relationships, children and love affairs, maintained their integrity that they expressed as “not wanting to belong to anybody if not to themselves” keeping the side that was not touchable by anybody on the outside in any relationship.
This condition is only attained if there is a profound folding- in on oneself, a kind of interiorisation and reflection that allows us to discover first of all who we are, an indispensable condition to then meet the other.
Virgo is the sixth sign of the zodiac and it presents itself as something that “stops” to reduce the rhythm in all activities; this happens and we are by now far from the Leo splendour in abundance; she has a difficult task, that of selecting the seeds and, to do it, she needs silence, clearing up to be able to exercise reflection and discrimination. It is not possible to do that type of work if chaos reigns and if one is not in true contact with oneself and with the inner dimension.
The role of Virgo is that of creating the conditions to be able to “choose” how to succeed in what is necessary to do in the world, to enter into a dimension of loneliness in which there is no recreation, but concentration alone.
That is why this sign always relates to myths in which there is a phase of “isolation” that often is erroneously considered “sterile”; in the Persephone myth we have a true and own descent to hell that must happen regularly and in cycles, and this is the condition in order for the girl to return to Earth in the reign where things are true and real.
When we need to “concentrate”, we close out the world outside to enter into a psychological dimension that, seen from the outside, can look like infertility, but that, in fact, creates the possibility of being able to guide an intimate dialogue that allows us open up to a different dimension.
Let’s not forget that Virgo is one of the domiciles of Mercury, who is a communication God, or better still the God who creates the conditions for communication; it is Hermes that opens up to something that still does not feel “ours”, and in the case in question, Daphne firstly needs to get in contact with herself to find her true identity before being able to go down the path of knowledge to another part or encountering a male.
Apollo is a solar God and we can see him as the bearer of “light – individualising”, of a woman who cannot be his if the inner conditions that favour an encounter are not created beforehand. We have often dealt with the chart of the need of each person in life to be in contact with nature (the phase that precedes adolescence is indicative of the need to be in contact with people of our own sex, in the way of being able to explore first of all the womanliness or the masculinity that will then lead to ecounters with the other sex).
Of course, the myth does not tell us if the phase into which Daphne enters (that of becoming a laurel) will be definitive or temporary: the myths stops typical growth passages and is not interested in what will happen later. It is presumed therefore that the psychological condition which Daphne represents is particular as the being in unity with herself, a phase of profound intro-inspection that is well symbolised, “becoming a tree”.
The interesting fact is that Apollo is able to create this type of disturbance; also when he fell in love with Cassandra, he received a clear refusal and on that occasion he got angry to the point to allow her the gifts of prophecy accompanied by never being believed.
Reflection is nevertheless an obligation. Why is the solar, most beautiful God, bearer of light, of reason and of “conscience”, regularly refused by the girls with whom he falls in love?
The myth very wisely underlines the difficulty for the woman and for the female generally of guiding a true identification process; initially it is seen as something that disturbs, that changes the personal balance and that distances.
In fact, before meeting the male the woman, is in profound contact with her unconscious dimension and she “dangerously” feels Apollo’s approach even if often it is curiosity in this dimension. Still, the Zodiac reminds us that the true meeting that will happen in Libra and then Virgo is a preparatory sign and thus maintains all the difficulties of the signs of “passage”.
To be prepared for the meeting with others it is necessary to be in contact with themselves, the loss and the cancellation they have suffered. Daphne, in her withdrawal, intends to remind us of the temporary demand of the psyche to find its integrity again. Only someone who is not afraid of loneliness and of contact with love can be integral because it can approach without fearing others.
Of course, the sign of Virgo must be nevertheless attentive not to prolong this loneliness too much, not to try to escape the relational dimension because, in that case, it would instead indicate a state of “charm” in which it is not growing.
The darkness in Virgo can be in keeping emotions and sentiments too much in check, so that they will not be contaminated, and when this happens, there will not be growth; on the contrary one will enter into a phase that will carry only infertility.
In fact, this is what happens to Cassandra who is very much afraid of the meeting with another part and with her Double and, in the end, she becomes sterile, in “seeing and knowing”, and is not of any use to anybody because she “is not credible”, since she has not accepted the contamination of the darkness and, as we know well, he who refuses darkness fundamentally lives in polarity.
Daphne is a creature that, like the sign that she represents, is in a transition phase: she must pick up her forces to reach that consciousness that will give her knowledge and accept her limits, finding herself rising again inside (well represented by the profound roots that feed the tree inside) that will accompany her to open in security towards others to find a relationship and love, the unity (integrity) that she wants so much.